Fixing Gmail Email Syncing Issues in Outlook: Locating and Importing PST Files for Seamless Email Access

Many Outlook users encounter difficulties when attempting to sync their Gmail accounts, leading to frustration and hindered productivity. This problem often stems from a misunderstanding of file types and storage locations within Outlook. Fortunately, by understanding the nuances of PST files and their role in email syncing, users can overcome this challenge and regain seamless access to their Gmail emails.

Identifying the Issue

Before diving into the solution, it’s crucial to understand the root cause of the problem. In this case, the issue lies in the misplacement or misidentification of the Gmail OST file, which is essential for syncing Gmail emails with Outlook. Users may mistakenly search for an OST file when, in reality, Gmail emails are stored in PST files within Outlook.

Understanding PST and OST Files:

PST (Personal Storage Table) files are data files used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, contacts, calendar events, and other items. These files can be imported, exported, and backed up to ensure the preservation of important data.

On the other hand, OST (Offline Storage Table) files serve a similar purpose but are primarily used for offline access to mailbox data in Outlook. While OST files facilitate offline synchronization with Exchange Server accounts, Gmail accounts typically utilize PST files for storage and syncing purposes.

Locating the Gmail PST File:

To resolve the syncing issue, users must first locate the Gmail PST file within Outlook. This can be accomplished through the following steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Navigate to the “File” tab in the top-left corner of the Outlook window.
  3. Select “Account Settings” from the dropdown menu and choose “Account Settings” again.
  4. In the “Account Settings” window, switch to the “Data Files” tab.
  5. Look for the PST file associated with your Gmail account. This file will typically have a name that reflects your Gmail email address or account name.

Importing the Gmail PST File:

Once the Gmail PST file has been located, the next step is to import it into Outlook to ensure access to Gmail emails. Follow these instructions to import the PST file:

  1. Go to the “File” tab and select “Open & Export.”
  2. Choose “Import/Export” from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the Import and Export Wizard, select “Import from another program or file” and click “Next.”
  4. Choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” as the file type to import and click “Next.”
  5. Click “Browse” to locate the Gmail PST file on your computer.
  6. Select the PST file and choose whether to replace, allow duplicates, or ignore duplicate items during the import process.
  7. Click “Next” and then “Finish” to complete the import.



In conclusion, troubleshooting Gmail email syncing in Outlook requires a clear understanding of file types and storage locations within the Outlook environment. By correctly identifying and importing the Gmail PST file, users can resolve syncing issues and regain access to their Gmail emails within Outlook. This simple yet essential solution ensures efficient email management and enhances productivity for Outlook users.


Live Outlook Support Transcript Example:

Below is a live transcript of one of our Outlook Support experts helping a customer fix Gmail syncing issues.


Full Conversation:

Customer: I see you having issues with Outlook.
Technician: Yes, I am.
Customer: Okay, are you available for remote connection?
Technician: Pardon me?
Customer: Oh, boy, I have an out… Can we not use my computer microphone?
Technician: Okay, wait. Okay, can you hear me?
Customer: Yes, can you hear me?
Technician: Yes. Are you really in Alaska?
Customer: Well, no, I think that’s where the company is based. I’m in Texas.
Technician: Okay, well, not quite as interesting. Yeah. So are you available for remote connection?
Customer: Yes, and I kind of need to explain what’s going on. It’s kind of a long, complicated thing.
Technician: Okay. You want to connect first, and then I’ll explain it.
Customer: Sure. Give me a second. Let me send you a link if you can give me your e-mail address.
Technician: Well, I’m having e-mail problems, so I’m not… I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find it. You don’t have, like, a regular e-mail I can e-mail to, like a Gmail?
Customer: No? Well, I have three regular e-mails, but I don’t know if I’m getting them right now.
Technician: Okay. Try sending it.
Customer: Okay, I’m getting one. No problem. Connect now? Is that what I’m supposed to click?
Technician: Well, I can enable remote connection through here, but sometimes it’s buggy, so I was just going to send you a link.
Customer: Okay, go ahead. I’ll get it.
Technician: Okay, so you want me to send e-mail or just click the remote?
Customer: You can e-mail it. It looks like it’s coming through.
Technician: Okay, hold on. What’s your e-mail address?
Customer: L-E-A-N-N-L-O-N-G, 888 at
Technician: How many eights?
Customer: Three.
Technician: Okay. You should be receiving an e-mail here shortly.
Customer: Okay, got it. Join session?
Technician: Yes, please.
Customer: Okay. I have an ultra-wide monitor, so tell me if it doesn’t look good to you.
Technician: Okay, I’ll let you know. Let’s see.
Customer: Alright, I see three screens, but I think I should be able to navigate.
Technician: Yeah.
Customer: Okay, so let me tell you what’s going on. It is kind of a long story, but I don’t know which parts are relevant and which parts are not. So a week ago I had to reinstall Windows, all my programs, all my files, everything, everything. So I was trying to clean up. That part seemed to go well. I was trying to clean up my e-mails because I had a bunch of old data files, like a whole bunch of old data files from other old computers and stuff. And my archiving wasn’t working either. So I used this Stellar something, Stellar Merge mailbox for Outlook to merge all my PST files. And they seemed to merge okay. And then I deleted my old ones, and that was obviously a problem because now I only see my Gmail but not my other two. But then I restored my PST files from the recycle bin, but that didn’t seem to help either. They’re still missing. I mean, the data files aren’t missing, but in Outlook it’s missing.
Technician: Okay, see, Gmail says that the new messages are supposed to be in this file down here, users, blah, blah, blah, which you apparently can’t change for Gmail IMAP accounts. But that OST file is not where it says it is. For Gmail?
Customer: Yeah, like when I follow that file path right there, there’s no OST file. There’s no anything similar to that. In fact, I did a search on my whole computer, and I can’t find that file.
Technician: You’re trying to find the Gmail OST file?
Customer: Yeah.
Technician: For what reason, just to know where it is?
Customer: Well, just because – well, because first I wanted all my emails in one place. The linkums are on my D drive. The Gmail is on my C drive. It’s not that important, but I just thought it was weird that when I went to find it, it’s not there, whereas these, the linkums, they are there, but they’re not pulling in the email.
Technician: So these two are not pulling in the email, right?
Customer: Right.
Technician: Now, because these are PST files. These aren’t OST files.
Customer: I know.